We Visited a “Full Contact Gunfight Arena” in Las Vegas to Ask: Has Anything Changed?

Did the massacre change any opinions about gun safety?

In addition to interviewing gun control advocates who were demonstrating in Las Vegas on Wednesday nightMother Jones filmmaker Al Kamalizad also focused his camera on a local business-owner who works with guns every day. We wanted to know: Will the massacre change any of his opinions on the gun control debate?

Earlier on Wednesday, we went to Las Vegas Gunfights, a company that sells tactical training sessions and simulated “gunfight experiences for tourists,” to speak to businessman Nephi Oliva about his reactions to the Las Vegas massacre and his starkly different take on gun regulations.

“We can have a serious discussion about gun control, but first, take the guns away from the criminals,” Oliva said. “Then take the guns away from crooked police officers. Then take them away from crooked politicians, and tyrannical government officials. Once you’ve done all that, I will gladly hand my guns over.”

Inside, we found a walled-off arena with corrugated metal siding, sand floors, and stacks of barrels that can be used as weapons or for cover. Here, participants battle using real guns and non-lethal ammo in a free-for-all that has left “six or seven guys knocked out this year.”

“Republicans and Democrats both want safety, everybody wants to feel safe, so in that regard we’re all on the same page,” Oliva said. “But the difference we find is that Democrats tend to rely more on the government to provide that protection, and Republicans rely more on each other and themselves.”

Go inside the arena in the video above.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.